Read about Cops on Top at their website for some background.
I learned about Cops on Top in a police magazine a few months back and began to think of a way to incorporate their mission into our climb of Denali. After thinking of various ideas I came up with the idea to carry a flag streamer up to the summit of Denali with me. The streamer is a replica of one that flies on our department flag that honors officer Mark Stall who was killed in the line of duty in 1997. With the support and consent of Cheryl, I was able to carry to the summit of Denali this streamer honoring Mark.
When I arrived at the summit I attached it to my ice axe and unfurled it. Unfortunately, there was some camera technical difficulties and the photos of the event failed to turn out. I had asked another person to take the photo but they only pushed the shutter down to focus instead of the whole way down to take the picture. Due to the high winds and -20 F temperatures I failed to review the camera photos to confirm the photo. I’m sure the altitude was messing with me as well. As was a 12 hour summit ascent. Unfortunately, none of our summit photos turned out because of this problem.
Anyway, when I got back to camp 5 I reviewed the photos and found none of the pictures at the summit turned out. I was devastated. I felt so bad.
So, after a short nap at Camp 5, I set up the streamer again with my ice axe and took another photo with The Autobahn above Camp 5 in the background. If you look closely at the photo you can see the trail we took up The Autobahn to Denali Pass on our way to the summit. The point was to honor Mark’s memory and that was accomplished whether a photo of the event exists or not. Although I felt terrible the event was not captured in a photo, I hope this photo helps everyone in vision the moment at the summit.
Thanks again to Cheryl and her family for helping make this moment possible.